by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH/ pic by TMR FILE
THE Human Resources Ministry (MoHR) has refuted the claim that 100,000 local employees could be laid off if the Covid-19 outbreak prolongs until year-end.
The ministry said the allegation is being reported on a speculative basis and does not consider the government’s initiatives to protect the Malaysian workforce.
“The estimation that 100,000 people will be laid off is only a speculation. The estimation did not consider government initiatives to protect and enhance the local labour force amid the current socio-economic challenges.
“To date, the government has not received reports on any trimming of jobs due to the virus outbreak,” it said in a statement yesterday.
The ministry said last year, 40,084 employees were retrenched, of which 18,754 people had managed to re-enter the workforce through Social Security Organisation’s (Socso) Employment Insurance System (EIS) programme.
It added that to date, Socso has spent RM107 million to assist retrenched employees through financial aid and support in job searching.
“Since the virus outbreak, the number of workers who have been laid off is still at a normal rate and does not show an increase.
“As of Feb 18, 8,588 Socso contributors lost their jobs and Socso spent RM21 million in assisting them with training and financial aid,” the ministry said.
EIS provides financial assistance through an employment allowance amounting to 80% of an employee’s estimated monthly income for the first month after retrenchment. The amount will be reduced to 50% for the second month, 40% for the third and 30% for the remaining consecutive months of unemployment.
The retrenched workers will also be assisted in finding jobs, training and upskilling programmes to enhance their employability.
“The ministry wants to stress that retrenchment is the final course of action that could be taken by employers.
“According to the Code of Conduct for Industrial Harmony, employers have to take necessary actions before laying off employees. These include halting new employment, limiting overtime work and limiting the working days on the weekend and public holidays,” it said.
The ministry said it will not compromise with companies that lay off employees without strong reasons.
Through the Department of Industrial Relations Malaysia, the ministry will continue to monitor the domestic labour force and ensure that employers are abiding by the country’s regulations.